Last summer Mr Canada Philip Scrubb Scrubb who is inofficially the greatest Canadian University basketball player of all time won a Gold medal at the Marchand Cup in San Juan Puerto Rico and a Bronze at the FIBA Americas in Mexico where combined he shot a ridiculous 49% from the parking lot and his winning didn´t stop there as he also was NBA Summer League champion in Orlando and as a professional rookie with the Fraport Skyliners won the Fiba Europe cup a few months ago. That including his 8 titles with Carleton(CIS) is a lot of hardware and medals, but if you were to ask the Canadian national player if he might trade in some of those titles for a chance to play with the best at the 2016 Olympic games in Rio, Brazil, it would definitely be interesting to know what his answer would be. For Scrubb, he may just get that chance to mingle with the best athletes in the world in August in Rio, if he and team Canada can qualify in a Fiba tournament in Manilla.
After being ousted by ratiopharm Ulm in the playoffs at the start of June, Scrubb had his last official team function with the Fraport Skyliners and fans at a gathering in the Fraport arena. Most Skyliners were upbeat, celebrating and spending extra precious time with fans as many would be going their separate ways. A Johannes Voigtmann left for Spain as did Canadian national player Aaron Doornekamp while Jordan Theodore was mulling top offers from teams in Europe as he is currently in Englewood New Jersey getting ready for the new season and still unsigned. A team like FC Bayern Munich have been quiet so far this summer as their head coaching job is still undecided which could loom very decisive if there is any chance of Theodore making the jump to Germany´s most famous sports brand FC Bayern Munich. On this warm late spring night, Scrubb as he so often is was keeping to himself and in constant thought most likely about that possible dream chance of taking part in the 2016 Olympic games in Rio, Brazil.
After a short time in Canada where he hardly had time to unpack, it was time to report to team Canada as they were headed to Europe for an exhibition tour that would help them get ready for the 2016 Olympic qualifying tournament. Team Canada set up shop in Italy where they played various test games against countries like Croatia, Italy, China and Puerto Rico. In the game against Croatia, Canada won 90-81 and the best man on the court was Philip Scrubb who had 27 points and was in the spotlight as NBA players like teammate Anthony Bennett had 21 points and Bojan Bogdanovic of the Brooklyn Nets had 24 points. Team Canada finished with a 4-1 record and were ready to begin battle in the Manilla for a ticket to the 2016 Olympics.
In their first game, they met an aggressive Turkish team that they could never really shake off as they always kept coming at them and grinded out a 77-69 victory that at times looked as ugly as when Ronaldo attempts a free kick for Portugal on the football pitch, but then again looked as amazing as NBA Showtime when NBA regulars Tristan Thompson Cory Joseph and Anthony Bennett showed the fans in Manila how to perform and execute the perfect alley-oop play. Thompson just recnetly decided to join Canada and was in beast mode and seemed to already had enough partying behind him after winning the NBA title with the Cavs. It was a game where pure athleticism of Canada won out against the physical play inside of Turkey and their poor shooting from outside where they connected only on 6/26 shots.
If there is one thing that you can´t doubt is the love that Canada head coach Jay Triano has for the Scrubb brothers Philip and Thomas who are teammates with team Canada. They may be opponents this upcoming season as the Hessen derby between Frankfurt and Giessen may take up a totally new meaning and have that spirited Canadian competitive edge to it, but for now they are on the same team. Triano gave the two brothers a combined time of 55 minutes and they didn´t disappoint combining for 19 points. Thomas Scrubb started while Philip was on the bench. Canada had a quick lead, but as would be the case so often in the game, Turkey would battle back and cut the score to 21-17 after 10 minutes. Philip Scrubb came in in the last seconds of the first quarter and like a veteran took the ball down the court and in Larry Bird Manner calmly dribbled the ball to the top of the key and let fly a three pointer that sank through the netting as the buzzer sounded. The only thing missing was that blond wig that would have given Scrubb the perfect Bird disguise as if it was 30 years ago. Thomas Scrubb had been very active on transition and helping out under the boards as best possible in the first quarter
In the second quarter, Philip Scrubb was inserted at the 8:39 minute mark and played until halftime. He wasn´t as potent offensively simply because on a roster that has so much firepower, there isn´t really a need to have to force anything. NBA players Thompson and Joseph led the charge and did a lot of damage on the offensive end. Philip Scrubb continued to be that valuable offensive player that supplied punch at the guard position and keeping that immaculate ball movement carry on at a healthy pace. Canada led 39-30 at the break
In the third quarter, Philip Scrubb was inserted at the 5:36 minute mark and with an offense that wasn´t great, but good enough to keep the lead at 10 points plus didn´t have to force anything, but just pick his spots. He made a couple of big plays on defense with steals and hit a typical pull up jumper that he makes every day in practice. Joseph hit a buzzer beater which kept Turkey at bay at the 59-47 advantage.
Philip Scrubb remained in the game the whole fourth quarter and witnessed an intense grind as team Canada could never fully shake off the pesky Turkish team as they seemed to be an annoying parasite that even a shark would get angry about. Every now and then which is common in basketball, team Canada would get involved in one too many one on one situations and despite having countless players that can finish most times than not, couldn´t which allowed Turkey to capitalize and stay close in the game. In the last few minutes Turkey was able to cut the Canada lead down to single digit numbers to 73-66, but Philip Scrubb hit a timely three pointer to get the lead back to 11 points. In the end, it was Team Canada that was able to grind out a tough 77-69 win and move to 1-0. Team Canada was led by Cory Joseph with 21 points while Turkey was led by Sinan Guler with 14 points. Even though Turkey was better in various team stats like rebounding and bench points, it was their unsatisfactory three point shooting and free throw shooting that led to their downfall. Had they been able to convert more in these two categories, then they most likely would have won the game. However Turkey had no clue how to defend the overwhelming athleticism of Canada and were just inferior against the better Canadian one on one players. “ I think defensively, except for a few stretches of the game, we did a pretty good job and Cory has a big game offensively. We’re feeling good about the win but not looking ahead to France yet, we still have to focus on 1 or 2 games before that.“, warned Philip Scrubb. Philip Scrubb finished with 10 points, five rebounds, two assists and three steals and shot very well at 50% from the field and the three point area displaying his knack of possessing keen shot selection. His brother Thomas scored 9 points, six rebounds, one assists and one steal. He shot 43% from the field, 33% from downtown and 50% from the free throw line. Canada next meet African team Senegal tomorrow.